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INTERVIEW: Social Justice Activist Herbert Jauch on Water Pricing: Ensuring Equity in the Face of Scarcity

todayJune 5, 2024 11

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As water scarcity looms over Namibia, social justice activist Herbert Jauch emphasizes the crucial need for strategic planning to avert a catastrophe. With dam levels plummeting and water shortages becoming increasingly severe, households across the country, particularly in Windhoek, are facing the stark reality of dwindling water supplies. In light of this pressing issue, Jauch advocates for equitable solutions that prioritize the needs of low-income households while ensuring the sustainable management of this precious resource.

He warns against the temptation to address water shortages through price hikes, recognizing the disproportionate impact such measures would have on vulnerable communities. Instead, he proposes alternative strategies that focus on fairness and accessibility. One such approach involves providing a basic amount of water free of charge to every household, tailored to their size and needs. While acknowledging the challenges of implementation, Jauch underscores the importance of guaranteeing access to water as a fundamental human right.

Furthermore, Jauch stresses the necessity of curbing excessive water consumption by affluent households. Rather than relying on price increases, which would unfairly burden those already struggling to make ends meet, he suggests implementing measures to restrict high water usage and penalize excessive consumption. By promoting responsible water usage and incentivizing conservation, Jauch aims to foster a sense of solidarity within communities, recognizing that water is a shared resource that must be preserved for the benefit of all.

Central to Jauch’s vision is the concept of equity, ensuring that water remains accessible to every individual regardless of their socioeconomic status. This requires not only proactive measures to address immediate shortages but also long-term strategies to manage water resources sustainably. Jauch emphasizes the importance of safeguarding the interests of marginalized communities and upholding the principle that water is an essential commodity that should not be subject to market forces alone.

As Namibia grapples with the challenges of water scarcity, Jauch’s insights serve as a rallying cry for justice and solidarity. By prioritizing equity and sustainability in water pricing policies, we can work towards a future where access to this vital resource is guaranteed for all. Through strategic planning and collective action, we can confront the looming water crisis with compassion, resilience, and a commitment to social justice.

Written by: Leonard Witbeen

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